I’d been having an off few days. An off few weeks, actually. The stress from daily life has really been taking its toll. I was feeling jittery, on edge, impatient and irritable. I was constantly buzzing about, trying to clean, cook, work, write, workout and manage the kids all the while feeling like a piece of me was about to explode. I’d get frustrated with the kids when I knew in my head I should be calm. I’d go about my day feeling overwhelmed; like I just couldn’t manage to fit it all in. I’d stand and eat, never had a chance to sit down and would sometimes forget to even go to the washroom because I had so many other things to do first. I was tired and burnt out and stressed out.
I didn’t know what was wrong with me, but somehow I knew in my frazzled state that I needed help. I called my neighbour. She has five kids, a full-time job and great advice on every topic I’ve ever approached her about. She listened, empathized and suggested a couple of things:
- Cut out the caffeine, which I did that very day. It helped immensely and immediately.
- Call her naturopath, Jodi Larry, who she promised was amazing.
I made an appointment right away. Dr. Larry explained how her practice works. “It’s a holistic approach,” she told me. “That means we look not only at the symptoms you’re expressing, but also what’s going on in your life that might be impacting how you’re feeling.”
We went over everything—my divorce, my kids, going back to school, my constant need to be productive, my caffeine addiction and my obsessiveness with working out every single day. After I’d told her my whole life story, I felt like I must have sounded like a mess. But she didn’t seem phased.
In addition to putting me on a regimen of vitamins and supplements to help with my energy levels and sleep patterns, she gave me some practical advice that I would like to pass on to you:
- Become aware of the “critical parent.” When you start to become critical of yourself, recognize this and nurture yourself instead.
- Drop one workout a week, take a yoga class instead, try more self care. “You wouldn’t tell your child they are fat and lazy if they are too tired to go to the gym,” Dr. Larry told me. “Why would you say that to yourself?” She was right. I wasn’t being very kind to myself.
- Wake up every day and say, “Today I’m going to try my best and I’m going to enjoy it.” This is different than striving to be perfect every day. I could feel my stress levels decrease and my mood improve with this mantra.
- Set manageable goals for each day rather than trying to accomplish everything in one day. “Pick two to three things you’d like to do and you will end up being more productive than if you approach every task feeling stressed.” I’ve set goals for each day and have somehow managed to accomplish them – and more – without feeling insane.
I noticed the difference after the first day. In fact, I’ve never felt so calm. I’ve never sat to eat. I’m still tired, which we can address at our next session, but overall I feel sort of zen and I’m definitely being kind to me. Even my kids have noticed, which is all the motivation I need to keep moving forward, even if I’m going at a slower pace.